Schopenhauer's relevance lies in the fact that it is a philosophy of the living body and of bodily sensations. The human body and its sensations form the basis for Schopenhauer's physiological and psychological explanations of the Will. Unlike the metaphysical justification of the Will – predominantly an anthropomorphic projection featuring prominently in his main work The World as Will and Representation – the psychological explanation draws attention to an experience-based approach to Schopenhauer's philosophy. The physiological rationale is based upon the capacity of the muscles to contract, whereas the psychological is founded upon the sensations of the body.
This course will work through what is arguably Deleuze’s most important book, the work in his oeuvre that engages most rigorously with the standards and goals of philosophy traditionally conceived, and an emblem of a certain form of radical twentieth century French philosophy rarely matched. Published in 1968, Difference and Repetition was Deleuze’s primary doctoral thesis. It presents a fully elaborated – if at times highly compressed and elusive – philosophical system. This system in turn is founded on the two categories noted in the title: a concept of difference insubordinate to identity, and a concept of repetition irreducible to the simple reiteration of identity.
Our goal in this seminar will be to consider the work of, unquestionably, one of the most important modern philosophers: Immanuel Kant. The first hour will be devoted to a summary of the Critique of Pure Reason, and the method of transcendental argumentation that it deploys. In the second hour, we will consider the shift from theoretical to practical reason brought about in the Critique of Practical Reason, before seeing how the third Critique, the Critique of the Power of Judgment, takes on major unresolved questions concerning the faculties left untouched in the first two books.
This two-hour seminar will provide an outline of the powerful and subtle, remarkable and demented philosophy of Gottfried Leibniz, the last of the great early modern rationalists. Infamous for his invocation of ‘the best of all possible worlds’, savagely mocked in Voltaire’s Candide, Leibniz is in fact neither a crude optimist or theosophical thinker, but a philosopher of remarkable range, bearing an almost deranged ommitment to systematic metaphysical thinking. Our concern will be to explain this metaphysics on the basis of his quite minimal starting points: 1) a commitment to synthesising existing approaches in philosophy, 2) a commitment to the principle of sufficient reason, and 3) a novel definition of truth.